It’s undeniably wack that the Warriors, with the signing of DeMarcus Cousins to a one-year, $5.3 million deal on Monday night, have managed to assemble an entire starting five that, when healthy, could run the Eastern Conference All-Stars off the court. But what makes the earthquake of the Cousins signing a little stranger than, for example, Kevin Durant’s move to Golden State, is that—by Cousins’s account at least—no other teams were willing to make him an offer.
While Cousins obviously drew less interest than he would have had he not suffered an Achilles injury back in January, it still feels outrageous that no other NBA team wanted even just the chance of half a season from a slightly damaged All-Star at a bargain price. One newly competitive team in particular might have especially screwed the pooch by letting Cousins join up with the two-time defending champs. According to Mark Stein’s newsletter, the Lakers had the same chance that the Warriors did to sign Cousins to a cheap one-year deal, but wouldn’t pull the trigger:
Word also reached us Monday night that LeBron’s Lakers, after signing Rajon Rondo away from New Orleans and then losing Randle to the Pelicans, had an opportunity to sign Cousins at a one-year price point similar to the one that landed him in Golden State. But I’m told the Lakers passed, clearing the way for the Warriors to infuriate the basketball public yet again.
Huh? The Lakers’ centers right now project to be JaVale McGee, Ivica Zubac, and Moritz Wagner, none of whom should be playing significant postseason minutes except as a “fuck you” on the most dominant roster in the world. The Lakers could have taken a small risk on Cousins, for less than half of what Kentavious Caldwell-Pope is getting next season, and immediately upgraded at the five in almost any scenario that doesn’t involve Cousins losing his foot between now and next June. Sure, it’s not like they would have challenged the Warriors anyway, but man, you might as well try.